Are you guilty of savoring sweets and desserts just a bit too much? If you are, you’d better start watching what you eat. Consuming excessive amounts of sweet foods and treats can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, which can lead to prediabetes.
Typically considered a warning sign, prediabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes – or at least, not just yet.
If you don’t address prediabetes immediately and make necessary changes to your lifestyle and eating habits, your chances of developing type 2 diabetes significantly become higher.
So, if you want to reduce your risk of acquiring this disease, it’s time to take a healthy diet! We’ve listed the top 10 foods that help lower blood sugar.
Find out how these seeds, veggies, and spices can enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. Also, discover how you can use them as a healthy substitute for sugar, sweet treats, and high GI carbohydrates!
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
One research also found that taking vinegar before bedtime has positive effects on blood sugar concentrations in the morning.
Add ACV to your diet: Add apple cider vinegar to your favorite salad dressing or dash a tablespoon on top of your fresh veggie salad.
If you want to try its sleep-inducing powers, you can add a tablespoon of ACV in a cup of hot water with a tablespoon of honey, and sip it before bedtime.
2. Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli contains significant amounts of a chemical called sulforaphane, which was found to reduce fasting blood glucose.
One research found that this essential compound contained in broccoli not only reduces hepatic glucose production but enhances glucose control in type 2 diabetes sufferers as well.
Broccoli sprouts are also beneficial in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and prevent inflammation, especially in diabetic patients.
Add broccoli sprouts to your diet: You can simply sauté broccoli in olive oil with minced garlic and cracked black pepper. You can also add chopped broccoli to your wraps, pizza or flatbread!
3. Ceylon Cinnamon
A systematic review of studies conducted on both human and animal subjects revealed that Ceylon cinnamon has the potential to reduce blood sugar.
The review specifically found that prediabetes patients who consumed cinnamon had improved glycaemic control.
Aside from preventing the risk factors of diabetes, Ceylon cinnamon was also linked to better heart health, improved brain function, and healthier skin.
Add cinnamon to your diet: You can add cinnamon powder to your healthy smoothies, hot cocoa drink, and even to your coffee or tea!
You can also incorporate it into your stewed fruit! Just remember to use the Ceylon variant as the Cassia cinnamon (the more commonly sold in markets) contains high levels of coumarin, which may cause liver toxicity.
4. Chia and Flax Seeds
Both chia and flax seeds are rich in soluble fibers that can help lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. In fact, consuming ground flax seeds can reduce blood sugar by as much as 20 percent!
These powerful seeds are also nutrient-dense. Chia seeds, for example, are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and antioxidants, which explain their amazing benefits to health!
Add chia and flax seeds to your diet: Make your own chia detox water for your weight loss goals or add a few tablespoons of ground flax to your oatmeal, casseroles or soups!
Garlic has tons of amazing health perks, too! Garlic helps to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent diabetic complications.
Aside from its benefits to blood sugar, garlic also fights free radical damage, promotes heart health, improves brain performance, and boosts immunity.
Add garlic to your diet: Use chopped garlic in sautéing green veggies like kale or spinach. You can also add chopped or finely minced garlic to condiments, salad dressings, pasta sauce, soups, and stews.
One research found that using lentils as a substitute for potatoes or rice can reduce blood sugar levels by up to 35 percent. According to the study, lentils help to prevent the development of chronic diseases associated with uncontrolled sugar levels.
It was found that replacing half a serving of rice with lentils reduced blood sugar by 20 percent, while potatoes substituted with lentils caused a 35 percent drop in blood sugar levels.
Add lentils to your diet: Aside from using it as a healthier alternative for potato or rice, you can also use lentils in pasta sauces, guacamole or hummus.
You can also combine lentils with some cocoa powder and warm milk topped with dried fruits and sprinkled with cinnamon powder for a yummy dessert!
A study found evidence that regular consumption of pistachios can help people with prediabetes reduce their risk of developing diabetes.
The research discovered that prediabetic subjects reduced their fasting blood glucose and insulin after consuming a pistachio diet. The study’s findings suggest that pistachio helps to improve a person’s metabolic profile and prediabetes symptoms.
Add pistachios to your diet: You can add pistachios to your salad or frozen yogurt for a nutritious dessert. You can also enjoy them in your morning smoothie or post-workout drink!
8. Green Veggies
Green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, kale, and spinach are high in essential nutrients and low in calories.
One of the most important vitamins these veggies contain is vitamin C, which was found to reduce inflammatory markers, fasting blood glucose, and triglyceride levels in diabetic obese adults.
Add green veggies to your diet: The good news is, you can easily enjoy green leafy veggies in many healthy recipes!
While they are commonly enjoyed in a hearty salad, you can also savor them in your wraps and sandwiches or make your own green smoothie!
9. Red Peppers
Hot peppers like red cayenne also help to reduce the risk of acquiring diabetes. Spicing up your dishes with cayenne peppers apparently helps to keep normal blood sugar levels.
A study found that capsaicin, the active ingredient of cayenne, reduces plasma glucose levels, and maintains healthy insulin levels. The findings of the study also suggest that capsaicin consumption may help manage type 2 diabetes.
Add red peppers to your diet: You can add that extra kick of flavor to your dishes by incorporating cayenne peppers into your meat or pasta recipes.
You can also dash some chili flakes to your soups and stews for that extra heat!
10. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are also considered anti-diabetic food. Boiled sweet potatoes have low glycemic index (GI) scores, and are rich in fiber and other key nutrients.
The soluble fiber found in sweet potatoes helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and aid in blood sugar control.
Add sweet potatoes to your diet: Baking or boiling sweet potatoes is the easiest way to enjoy this nutrient-dense food in your diet.
You can also add it to your meal plans as a side dish. Simply serve it as you would a regular potato and top it with non-fat yogurt, salsa, black beans, and low-fat cheese.
Other Things You Can Do to Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Having a well-balanced, nutritious diet is one of the keys to preventing the occurrence of diseases such as diabetes. But making necessary changes to your lifestyle can positively affect your overall wellness, too.
Take a look at the other ways you can do to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level:
Aside from promoting weight loss, regular exercise also helps to improve your insulin sensitivity. Having increased insulin sensitivity prevents your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
You can try jogging, swimming, hiking, dancing or weight lifting among others.
Drink water and keep yourself hydrated
Drinking adequate amounts of water not only prevents the adverse effects of dehydration but also helps to flush out excess blood sugar in your body through urination.
In fact, a study found that sufficient water intake helps to prevent hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels.
Get adequate quality sleep
Getting a restful night is essential for good health.
A quality sleep not only reduces your risk of diabetes but also helps to enhance your immune system, boost your brain function, improve your mood, and fight signs of aging.
Millions of people are suffering from diabetes worldwide. It comes with many complications, sometimes leading to amputation or even blindness.
Whether you are prediabetic or not, it is essential to make the necessary lifestyle and diet changes to keep optimum health. Adding these foods to your daily nutrition may help prevent your risk or manage your diabetes.
It is best to see your doctor first and discuss your diet plans, especially if you are already taking medications that help to lower blood sugar levels.
Having a regular exercise, proper hydration, and sufficient quality sleep can also make a huge difference to your health!